Jack wrote this in August, 2006:
Question: Ever thought about the intentions of terrorists?
Answer: By definition, the purpose of terrorism is to instill terror, panic.
Question: Ever asked yourself what terrorists hope to accomplish in the target nation?
Answer: The terrorist assumes the result of his efforts and sacrifices will be in damages far beyond the immediate physical damage to property, injury and death caused by his actions. He knows he can only kill a millionth or so of the metropolitan population he attacks, at best. He knows the property damage and injury will be comparatively microscopic.
What the terrorist hopes for is on a far grander scale. He hopes in their panic the target population will behave rashly. He hopes they’ll alter their lifestyles, give up their freedoms, and live in terror that he’ll do it again. Sacrifice what they are and what they have as a result of the fear he caused.
Question: Ever considered what assumptions the terrorist makes about the population of the country being attacked?
Answer: The terrorist assumes his target population consists of decadent cowards. Inherent in his assumptions rests the ordinarily idiotic belief the citizens of the nation he attacks are stupid enough to feel a general threat behind the miniscule damages he causes.
It’s never worked until now.
Even in France, where the gene-pool for physical and moral courage has been systematically culled by the guillotine during the Revolution, by Napoleon I on the steppes of Russia, by Napoleon II supporting the Emperor Max in Mexico, in the trenches during WWI, by the equatorial prisons, so there was nothing left by 1940, except Marshall Petain and general collaboration with the German invaders.
Even in France, I was going to say, terrorism didn’t work.
France and other European nations were under full-scale terrorist attack for almost 40 years and they never abdicated their freedoms, never sold out their convenience to travel, never fortified their national borders. The Europeans didn’t spend that forty years wringing their hands in despair and fear.
The terrorists sacrificed themselves for nothing. Their terrorism didn’t work in Europe.
Meanwhile, the US was spared terrorist attacks during all those years. Presumably, potential terrorists believed the US population, unique among the Western nations, could not be cowed. Could not be terrorized. Could not be intimidated into changing what they were by the microscopic threats terrorists could expect to introduce.
Then came Nine-One-One.
What a shock it must have been for them to see their dreams come true.
What a surprise to see the wrong assumptions they’d made all those years about Europeans were all true.
All true with Americans.